The Robert Beer Blog
Posted by Robert Beer on 12/9/2017 5:44:52 PM
Copied from the blogspot site above and from Albert Heim - Yearbook of the Swiss Alpine Club 1892. Translated as 'The Experience of Dying from Falls' or "Remarks on Fatal Fall" Investigating the literature of near-death experiences in the mountains
"Up and About", Doug Scott's recently published autobiography, shows that the Himalayan veteran still wields a deft pen. Within the first pages, (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 4/6/2013 5:52:33 PM
The earliest of John's journals is a notebook from 1964, which consists mainly of notes and thoughts upon the books he was reading at this time, and French vocabulary exercises from the time he spent in Paris during the summer of that year.
At the age of twenty he was eager to enter the world of his French Impressionist heroes, and arriving in Paris he found accommodation at a cheap hotel on the Boulevard St Germain. At this time many French artists would exhibit their work along the (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 3/29/2013 5:08:30 PM
On looking through some of the extracts from the journals of John F B Miles recently, I came upon this outline for a 'Water Project' that John had handwritten in 1981 and photocopied for his art students at South Devon Technical College in Torquay, England.
The Water Project
One day last September I got trapped by heavy rain halfway between the college and the 'South Street Glass Works'. The rain was torrential, and having no coat I pressed myself against the alcove of a (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 1/4/2012 6:13:05 PM
These two short articles below were written about Siddhimuni Shakya by the Newar artist Deepak Joshi, and about Siddhimuni's son, Surendra Man Shakya, by a writer named Anubhuti Poudyal. I have included them here as part of a continuing historical essay on the lives of the three Newar painters Anandamuni, Siddhimuni, and Surendra Man Shakya, whose lineage of painting techniques has in many ways empowered the contemporary Newar art movement of present day Nepal.
The Great (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 4/8/2014 1:13:45 AM
YAMA and YAMI
The Rig-Veda, meaning 'praises of knowledge', is the first of the Four Vedas or sacred Indo-Aryan scriptures of the ancient Indian tradition, which may possibly date back to earlier than 1900 BC. In the verses of this most primordial of all written scriptural texts the origins of many of the great Vedic gods are given, including that of Yama and Yami, who were the first two mortal humans to be born upon this world. As primordial twins they were born from the union of Surya, the (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 12/13/2011 6:41:28 PM
I spent a large part of the year 2001 in writing an extensive collection of 'Wisdom Stories', many of which I had heard, received or read over the course of my life, which due to their meaningfulness had effortlessly instilled themselves into my memory. My intention at that time was to publish these stories as a collection, but as my experiential faith in publishers began to rapidly diminish around this time, I never did finish this project, and they have remained shelved in a folder on my (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 10/14/2011 6:16:50 PM
"There are three classes of people: Those who see: Those who see when they are shown: Those who do not see.
Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses - especially learning how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else."
"While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die."
(Leonardo da Vinci)
Over the past four of five years my continuing passion has been researching the Near-Death Experience (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 4/19/2011 11:42:36 AM
A young Japanese archer took great pride in the excellence of his marksmanship with a bow and arrow. Having read a lot of pithy Zen stories and received some basic training on mindfulness, he soon came to the conclusion that he was a true master of archery. So he decided to travel to a remote mountain monastery in order to challenge an old Zen master, who was reputed to have once possessed great skill with a bow and arrow.
After having arrived at this monastery he eventually managed to (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 3/22/2011 12:23:04 PM
One night the Prophet Mohammed was woken from his sleep by the Archangel Gabriel (Jibril), who led him to the door of the Al-Haram or 'Holy Mosque' in Mecca where the celestial mount Buraq was waiting for him. Mohammed mounted this divinely winged steed and, accompanied by Gabriel, flew swiftly through the sky to the far away mosque of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. Here the Prophet was offered refreshment from two pitchers, one of which contained wine and the other milk. When Mohammed chose to drink (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 3/1/2015 7:17:04 PM
Last year I came across this question below and its answer from a woman's direct understanding of both kinds of experiences. This is a question that often arises in materialistic attempts to explain the ineffable and enhanced 'non-local consciousness' experienced during a near-death experience in relation to the so-called 'DMT Molecule' that alters the chemistry of the brain during a psychedelic experience.
QUESTION: "I have read accounts of people who have taken LSD (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 12/4/2012 10:36:00 AM
Recently someone e-mailed me a photograph that was taken in 1977 outside the British Museum, which shows, from left to right: Miss Stuart Hamill, Choegyal Rinpoche, Dorzong Rinpoche, Khamtrul Rinpoche, Chimi Rinpoche, myself, and Keith Dowman. In the background is Stuart's Silver Shadow Rolls Royce ~ she always traveled in style and I pray that she still does, now deep in the heart of Chicago.
I possess few photos from my own past, but this one speaks deeply to me and has brought to mind a (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 9/10/2012 1:42:59 PM
Harishchandra, the twenty-eighth king in the lineage of the Solar Dynasty, was the King of Ayodhya in Northern India, who was renowned for his generosity, humility, honesty and sense of justice. One day Harishchandra happened to be walking through a lonely forest when he heard the sound of women crying in distress, so he went to investigate. In a clearing he came upon the great sage or Rishi, Vishvamitra, who was in the process of mastering the Vedic Sciences. These 'Sciences' had miraculously (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 7/11/2011 9:14:27 PM
The Sand Mandala of Avalokiteshvara
In May 2008, His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to England to give five days of teaching in Nottingham, during the course of which a group of monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery created a sand mandala of the deity Avalokiteshvara for public display. A month after this event a Khenpo from the Drikung Kagyu tradition contacted me to ask if I would write a description of this sand mandala for him, as many people in Nottingham had asked him specific questions (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 3/22/2011 12:04:21 PM
One believes he is the slayer, another believes he is the slain.
Both are ignorant: there is neither slayer or slain.
You were never born; you will never die.
You have changed; you can never change.
Unborn, eternal, immutable, immemorial, you do not die when the body dies.
Realizing that which is indestructible, eternal, unborn, unchanging,
How can you slay or cause another to slay?
As one abandons worn-out clothes and acquires new ones,
So when the body is worn out a new (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 11/22/2012 1:58:16 PM
According to Judaic legend King Solomon was reputed to have invented the game of chess, and as its inventor he was also the first grand master of this game. His favourite opponent was Benaiah, the general of his army, but Benaiah was no match for Solomon and had never won a single game.
One afternoon their chess game was nearing its inevitable conclusion of yet another checkmate by King Solomon, when their attention was suddenly interrupted by a heated argument that was taking place in (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 2/21/2011 1:14:32 PM
Gene Smith (1936-2010)
Gene Smith was a unique, kind and unforgettable human being who did so much in his life to help preserve and disseminate the vast heritage of Tibetan texts that began to come out of Tibet after the Chinese invasion of the 50's. I only met Gene three times myself, once when he was in Delhi in the 70's, and twice more recently in New York where we shared some warmth, humor and wine together. But it was always so evident from the many Tibetan scholar and translator (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 3/1/2015 7:50:47 PM
The article below was written by Robert Perry in May 2012.
(Robert Perry, founder of 'The Circle of Atonement')
In recent months, I have been watching video testimonies of two very different kinds. One kind is of people who have had near-death experiences (NDEs). The other kind is of people who claim to have awakened, become enlightened, basically within the context of the Advaita Vedanta tradition (non-dualistic Hinduism).
The weird thing is that, while both are essentially (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 11/22/2012 1:38:47 PM
Mahmud of Ghazni (966 -1030 AD) was a zealous Muslim sultan from the city of Ghazni in Afghanistan. In 1001 AD he led the first of his seventeen raids upon India, first plundering the sacred Hindu cities of Mathura and Vrindavan, then moving southwards into Gujerat to destroy the famous Shaivite shrine of Somanath. The doors of the Somanath temple were made of solid gold and studded with precious stones, and these doors Mahmud ordered to be carried away to adorn the Ka'ba in Mecca. On each of (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 12/13/2011 5:11:25 PM
Sheikh Abu Sa'id (967-1049 AD) lived for many years in the town of Nishapur near Mashad in Eastern Persia. Here he established a monastic teaching centre that attracted many students and wandering dervishes, but the orthodox Muslims soon began to criticise his teaching methods and the apparent liberalism of his behaviour. Abu Sa'id would often hold lavish festivals for his students, where musicians were invited to perform, ecstatic dancing was encouraged, and appetising food was served to all (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 10/24/2011 6:57:35 PM
This vivid poem about a crippled beggar women in Benares, along with a description of the pilgrimage city of Hardwar, and an audacious introduction to his film "Kings With Straw Mats", were all written by Ira in the late 1970's.
On her back she sweeps
the central concourse of Kashi
covered in ashes and
pushing her plate in a rattle of zinc
she comes up from the Ganga.
Her legs are dead dogs
pulled by a string
crooked and tortuous
clothed in foam
she is a (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 3/31/2011 2:44:48 PM
While going through some papers recently I came across the photocopy of a letter that a friend sent me in 1995. This letter entitled: 'Sri Sai Baba manifestations, miracles (leelas) and healings in North London', describes how an unexpected series of miraculous events began to occur in a suburban London house when its Indian owners held an inauguration ceremony to bless their new billiard room extension.
The Patel Manifestations
In May 1988 the Patel family, who lived in a (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 1/22/2011 2:10:38 PM
I wrote this short biography of John a few months after he died in 1997 to accompany a small retrospective exhibition of his work that took place later that year. I rewrote and revised it a little today.
JOHN F B MILES (1944-97)
John Francis Beverley Miles was born in Cardiff, South Wales, in September 1944. His father, Arthur Miles, was a successful illustrator and painter, an intellectual pragmatist with strong socialist convictions. His mother, Enid, had been a Carmelite nun for many (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 3/26/2014 11:39:20 AM
The most famous Newar artist of the early Beri period was Arniko or Anige (1245-1306), an artistic prodigy who was almost certainly born into the Sakya caste of statue makers in the Newar city of Patan. No record of his existence is to be found in Nepal, but only in the words of the Mongol-Chinese text of the Yuan Annals (Yuanshi), and in a Chinese manual on art materials. Legend relates that at the age of three his parents took him to a stupa in the Kathmandu Valley, where he precociously (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 11/5/2012 7:45:58 PM
Birbal and the barber.
Birbal was the closest adviser of Akbar the Great, the sixteenth century Mughal emperor of India. Akbar respected Birbal's shrewd wisdom above all his other courtiers and this inevitably led to much jealousy of Birbal at Akbar's darbar or court. Many of the ministers devised elaborate schemes to discredit or trap Birbal, or to expose a weakness in his judgement, but the wily adviser invariably outwitted them and none could succeed. Birbal could invariably (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 11/5/2012 7:37:43 PM
Akbar and the beggar.
A Muslim fakir once came to visit the great emperor Akbar to ask for some money for religious purposes. When he arrived at the palace the emperor was just saying his prayers, and the fakir heard Akbar whisper, "O Allah, please make me wealthier, please give me more money."
Upon hearing these words the fakir started to leave, but Akbar motioned for him to remain. When he had finished his prayers Akbar said, "Why were you walking away?"
The fakir (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 7/29/2012 7:33:19 PM
This article on Anandamuni was essentially compiled from notes of an interview that I made with his son Siddhimuni in 1999, with my late friend Phunsok Tsering acting as translator. Over the course of the next few years I tried to discover as much as I could about the lives of Anandamuni and Siddhimuni, much of which was anecdotal, for they were already legendary characters in a legendary landscape, and neither Siddhimuni nor any of his family spoke English. On my behalf Phunsok had got to (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 10/13/2011 2:44:37 PM
A proverb has three characteristics: it has few words, a wise sense, and a clear image.
Your secret is your prisoner; once you reveal it you become its prisoner.
A bad coin never gets lost.
A brother turned enemy is an enemy for life.
Be certain to send a lazy man to summon the Angel of Death.
A guest for one day can see a long way.
A friend is got for nothing, an enemy has to be paid for.
The tavern can't corrupt a good man, the temple can't reform a bad one.
More alms (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 1/22/2011 2:20:32 PM
A Moment of Forgiveness and Understanding
In his book Travels the author Michael Crichton (1942-2008), screenwriter of films such as Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Sphere and Disclosure, describes one of his out-of-body experiences under the guidance of a friend named Gary. In this session he finds himself moving upward to stand in a peaceful and misty yellow astral realm.
"Do you see anybody here?" Gary asked.
I looked around, but didn't see (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 1/10/2016 4:52:46 PM
In 2015 I wasn't able to add any new images or blogs to my website, mainly because I am always overwhelmed with the number of questions and projects that other people want me to get involved with. However, in 2016 I intend to try and avoid the endlessness of these issues and concentrate on my own work. So my first blog of this year is a paper I wrote after participating in a seminar on Tibetan Art at the Datsan or Temple of Yelo Rinpoche at Ulan Ude in Buriatia, Russia, in (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 10/24/2011 5:45:16 PM
Last night my late poet friend Ira Cohen came to me lucidly in a dream and indicated that I should finish an abandoned blog entry that I began to write just after he died. Also that I should put up some of his poems, particularly the one in memory of his old friend Angus MacLise (1938-1979), which I have included below.
Angus, a wild poet and drummer, died from malnutrition in Kathmandu during the summer of 1979, and to the end of his life Ira remained faithful to promoting Angus's (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 4/3/2011 8:06:00 PM
Abu Uthman al-Hiri lived in the Persian town of Nishapur during the late 9th and early 10th centuries. One day, as he was walking through the town, he came upon a drunken youth who was ecstatically strumming upon a lute. When the youth noticed the Sufi Sheikh approaching him he stopped playing his lute and tried to look sober, for he feared that at the very least the Sheikh would either reprimand him or report him to the religious authorities. But Abu addressed the youth kindly, saying, "Don't (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 10/24/2010 5:21:46 PM
SCIENCE AND THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE (continued)
Continuing on from my previous blog section (Afterlife - 4) I include here this long and interesting review of Chris Carter's book by Dr. Larry Dossey, entitled "Carter Hits (Another) Home Run!" This is a superb piece of writing, and to my mind the most clear and inspiring book review on the subject of NDEs that I have ever had the pleasure to read. Dr. Dossey is himself a prolific author of holistic and medical books, whose titles include: (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 4/19/2011 12:04:32 PM
In September 2005 the BBC screened a three-part Everyman Series called 'Talking to the Dead', which featured the work of several spirit mediums, most notably Gordon Smith from Glasgow, then dubbed the 'psychic barber', who is considered to be one of the finest spirit mediums in Britain.
Like many other people who watched this TV series I realized what an immaculate gift of clairvoyance Gordon possessed and had developed, so I made a mental note of his name. Then in the summer of 2006 I (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 12/5/2010 1:07:06 AM
"Just because something is dark doesn't necessarily mean its bad" (Peter Christopherson)
Affectionately known as Sleazy or Unkle Sleazy, Peter Christopherson died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Bangkok on 24th November 2010. He was 55 years old, a highly creative design artist, photographer, video director, and a talented musician. In the mid 70's he became a partner in the Hipgnosis design agency, which produced album covers for Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Black (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 2/14/2015 6:57:17 PM
When this website first came online in the late summer of 2010 I fully intended to write a regular blog, at least every month or two. Life has other plans, however, and over the last few years I have hardly put up anything new, although the intention has always been there.
In 2014 I spent much of my time writing the biography of my close friend Ani Zamba, an English Buddhist nun who has had the most interesting, meaningful and amazing life of anyone I ever knew, and this holds true for (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 10/24/2010 2:34:58 PM
SCIENCE AND THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE
Looking through Amazon.com's extended 'Afterlife Books' section recently I came across several excellent customer reviews of three important new books on the Near-Death Experience, two of which have been published this year (2010), and the third in 2009.
Over the last five years the study of near-death experiences (NDE) and of spiritual regression or 'Life Between Lives' (LBL) have been my consuming passion. Yet I never cease to be amazed at how (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 7/29/2010 8:49:11 PM
When Jesus was but a child there were two great teachers living in Jerusalem: Rabbi Shammai, who was learned and severe; and Rabbi Hillel, who was learned and gentle. One day a seeker after truth approached Shammai and asked; "Can you give me a summary of the Law whilst standing on one foot?" Shammai was offended by this seemingly arrogant request and chased the man away with his measuring rod.
The man then approached Hillel with the same blunt request, to which Hillel replied: "That which (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 8/11/2012 6:24:43 PM
In late January of this year (2012) Gill and I, along with our friends Liz and Robin, went on a two-week tour of Egypt, which involved a seven-day cruise on the Nile from Luxor to Aswan and back, a four-day cruise on Lake Nasser, and three days in Cairo. Because of the recent political upheavals in Egypt its tourism has been severely affected, which meant that although we were more strenuously harassed by the local touts who congregate at every ancient temple or tomb, we did enjoy the pleasure (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 9/9/2010 10:25:08 PM
Last August Gill and I, along with our friends Liz and Robin Puttick, drove down to the ancient stone circle of Avebury in order to view some of the crop circles, which in 2009 had yielded a bumper harvest of around seventy magnificent crop designs in this part of Wiltshire. But a long pub lunch and torrential downpours of rain had prevented us from exploring as much of this area as we had hoped, so our main experience was confined to a large Aztec or Mayan hummingbird design, which looked (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 8/6/2010 11:01:59 AM
KATHMANDU DREAMPIECE, by Ira Cohen
Trying to describe Kathmandu is like making a cross-section of sky and clouds,
Indefinable as the mysterious blue, which hovers above our ancient memories.
Ever changing as the cloud forms advancing over the valley,
dreams of dragon claws dissolving like sugar in the oracular waters of oriental wisdom,
only to reform in great mushrooms of future holocausts.
Endless cycles of death and rebirth figure everywhere in the story,
Pagodas, Buddhas, (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 7/3/2013 8:32:26 PM
Recently in Moscow I was asked to write my answers to nine questions for a forthcoming interview that will appear in the Russian edition of 'Yoga Journal' magazine. Although much of what I wrote is similar in content to several other interview articles that I have written in the past, a few people have suggested I publish it as a blog, which with some hesitation I am now including below:
1. When did you first get interested in art?
When I was a child my father taught me how to (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 1/21/2013 11:50:11 AM
Recently I was reviewing a story related by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, which concerned a young Native American Indian woman who was fatally struck by a hit and run driver on the open highway. A man who stopped his car soon after to phone for an ambulance realized that she was dying and asked if there was anything else he could do to help or comfort her. The woman told him where her family lived on a distant reservation, and added: "If you ever get near to our reservation, please find my mother and (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 9/18/2010 3:39:27 PM
"You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." (C.S. Lewis)
Our friend Robert Svoboda was just staying with us for a few days and asked if I had discovered any more about the memories carried over from a donor to a recipient during organ transplants, which are known as 'cellular memories'. Two recent accounts came to mind.
The first concerns a friend in Scotland who lost her sixteen-year-old son in a car crash in the 1980's and successfully (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 1/23/2013 7:11:24 PM
"Does our forerunner on the hilltop show by his looks and actions, since he is too far off to speak to us, that he beholds from his 'Peak in Darien' an Ocean yet hidden from our view?
I should hesitate altogether to affirm positively that such is the case; but, after many inquiries on the subject, I am still more disinclined to assert the contrary. The truth seems to be that, in almost every family or circle, a question will elicit recollections of death-bed scenes, wherein, with singular (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 11/8/2010 1:58:32 PM
"Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever."
The Guardian's 'Weekend' newspaper supplement on September 11th featured an article on the "Gods of Science", with a group photograph of Brian Cox, Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins on its cover. Sadly only Brian Cox looked vaguely content, with the other three prominent public figures looking very serious and quite miserable. My initial reaction was: 'How odd it is that (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 9/9/2010 5:18:38 PM
We moved house in early July, relocating from a three-story Victorian house that backed on to the River Thames in central Oxford to a more modern two-story house near a quaint village, which is just a few miles from Oxford town centre but still near the river. It's a tranquil and naturally beautiful area to live in, and our neighbors are friendly and interesting, so it already feels the closest to 'home' for a long time.
It took weeks to pack up our old house because of the countless (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 8/14/2010 3:21:10 PM
A JOURNEY THROUGH THE LIGHT AND BACK
A Near-Death Experience recounted by Mellen-Thomas Benedict
"In 1982 I died from terminal cancer. The condition I had was inoperable, and any kind of chemotherapy they could give me would just have made me more of a vegetable. I was given six to eight months to live.
I had been an information freak in the 1970s, and I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the ecology crisis, and so forth. So, since I did (read more)
Posted by Robert Beer on 8/14/2010 2:06:38 PM
THE AFTERLIFE - Part 1.
"We have shown that it is important for a would-be practitioner of the Dharma to understand that rebirth exists, that it is nonsense to claim the Buddha did not teach it, and that there is much evidence, some of it of a high scientific standard, that it is a fact. Reviewing the attempts to prove the existence of rebirth by Buddhist scholastic logic, we found that some rested on superstitious beliefs disproved by modern observations, and others on sweeping, (read more)